Zoe Smith, an Accomplish volunteer, set aside her childhood fears and triumphed for Accomplish in Nottingham…
Busted. Again. The formidable Teaching Assistant ousted me and my fellow chubby primary school friends from our hideaway, where we used our (genuine) asthma as an (overused and exaggerated) excuse to skip our mandatory exercise class. Physical education was mortifying for us unfit youngsters. It was torture. Not only during the lesson, but for hours after. Any form of exercise led to the highly embarrassing, long-lasting, post box-red face. So why – an unspecified number of years later – did I find myself running a half marathon on 27th September 2015? Voluntarily. In public. With the obligatory bright red face.
Being brutally honest, the answer was partly because I’m no longer self-conscious and needed a goal to get me fit! But I’m not sure if I would have thought it such a great idea – or stuck to it when my knee gave me jip – had it not been for the fact that I wasn’t just running for me. I was running for a new school. For its future pupils. For their chance of education.
I love Accomplish Children’s Trust. Always have. Always will. The difference it has made to the lives of so many children with disabilities – and to their families and communities – is breath-taking.
One story of such joy is the school for deaf or blind children. Accomplish has supported this school from its inception as a tiny germ of an idea to its existence as a thriving, growing primary school. The education is exemplary. There are countless stories of personal and societal expectations being blown by the bravery, tenacity and sheer intelligence of children who had previously been written off. Now these families want a secondary school. Rightly so! And that needs money. So I thought that I’d run to raise some funds.
These days, everyone seems to be doing some feat of physical endurance to raise money. I was convinced that people would be fed up and I would raise nothing. Nervously, I set my target at what felt like a huge £200. Friends, family and strangers donated £410. That’s £410 towards building a secondary school for young people with special needs in rural Uganda. It won’t build the whole thing. But it will certainly take it a stage further.